Archive for science fiction

Cause guess who!

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , on 23/11/2013 by Cindy Vaskova

Drumroll please, ladies and gentleman for the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who is upon us, and what a celebration that is! Worldwide coverage of the screening, over 300 cinemas alone in the US, 75 countries, simultaneously showing The Day of The Doctor both on TV and in cinemas…and as it appears my country isn’t joining the party. Regardless of that heart crushing information, I’m still anxiously waiting for tomorrow night, for what is spoken to be epic.

Now, I’ve been a fan since 2006-7, getting hooked to the show by a classmate of mine, who so furiously pushed the DVD’s in my hands demanding I watch them asap. And although I was very pessimistic about the whole concept, and the effects, and the pace of the show, I found myself loading episode after episode, falling for that universe with boundless opportunities. And it has had massive impact on me. It’s the one show alongside Sherlock that I just zoom into and refuse to get out days and days after I’ve watched it. It’s bloody brilliant.

And here we are now, on the verge of a breakdown, on the start of a new era, a goodbye to say and a hello to welcome. (What could that mean?!)  The cult continues, bringing back lovely David Tennant and Billie Piper, the duo that ehm made me kinda shed a tear. Well they did. And tears will be shed again for brilliant Matt Smith who bids farewell to the show. But not just now. Mr. Smith has been thus far the most amazing piece to the great puzzle that The Doctor is. I will dearly miss him. It’s one of those things fans say, but Smith is The Doctor. Knowing nothing can define and frame the personality of The Doctor, Smith just feels right. He was grand in each and every way, and I have never believed in the character of The Doctor more.

It’s a frightening universe, a frightening journey.  The viewer is like Alice, but instead of following rabbits down holes, we go down, through a vortex, through a  wormhole, where from being that charming, alluring man in a police box that’s bigger on the inside, The Doctor changes faces in the blink of an eye. And he’s a stranger again. Hazardous and complicated. Though no matter how much he alters, he’s always coming back for you, always daring you to go further. That’s the price of the viewer, craving for more, when knowing more tends to shed blood and open bigger gaps in the jigsaw history of the Time Lord.

Beyond the fun and the danger, this thread of chilling unknown and anonymity is expanding more and more and it feels that it may reach a climax, that it may give answers. Who, who, who? The eternal question. And Moffat just seems to have added more and more to the thrill. It’s supposed to end with a bang that will echo until the new series kick in with Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. Or the 13th.  All in his hands. Be it for 13 or more episodes.

Wherever you are, hold on till tomorrow, for then we cry in awe as past, present and future collide to bring us a most extraordinary experience. Geronimo!

 

The Pendulum and the Mosquito

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 17/11/2013 by Cindy Vaskova

The Pendulum swung, slashing the air as it picked up speed. The mechanical shrill scream of old and taut parts coming back to life filled the vast temple and the rusty monster soon roared with full power.

Standing in safe distance the Mechanic slid his finger down the glowing screen, going through the list of task performed and tasks about to initiate. He tapped on each running task, making sure the procedure was performed as planned. He smiled behind his mask at the excellent results reading on his screen.

On both corners of the chamber under the fluorescent light the Mechanic had installed prior, two crystals glistened; one ruby, one emerald. They were both grand, an impressive size, artificially grown. The Mechanic traced their crystalized roots descending all the way town to the floor of the chamber and digging into the foundations. But what mattered to him were the cocoon crystals that embraced the vessels carrying the virus and the antidote.

He checked the time. According to his statistics for the Pendulum to interact with the crystal fully and begin piercing through the thick material the estimated time was 16 hours. The Mechanic nodded. It was a hard task to crack the alien armor that had formed around the core, and the Pendulum would only suffice to penetrate inches inside and weaken the core. After that it was time for the Mosquito to play its part.
After 10 hours the first glistening ruby pieces started falling off. The Mechanic smiled once more.

Outside a snow storm was in its culmination, mad and swooshing, a white freezing fog that hid the peaks of the Himalayas. It was a ghost storm, a phantom wind that pierced through leather and skin and bones.

The mage was meditating in the midst of the happening, his palms upon his legs, opened upwards, two small balls of nature’s fury forming in each.

The mercenary’s were sitting in the throat of the cave serving as entrance to the temple inside the mountain.

“We’ve got company.”

Inside the howling storm, aside from the voices, another sound was making itself persistent, drawing nearer, sounding louder. It disappeared only to be replaced by an even louder one.

An aircraft swam out of the cloak of the snow, firing rounds from two Berezin B-20′s attached to it.

The mercenary’s scattered, picking on the run their weapons and firing back. One of the machine guns bursted into flames.

The mage was on his feet, charged with ice spells. He casted a rain of frozen spears which punctured the airplane top to bottom and it lost control, smashing into the surface of the mountain.

Two new crafts of the same model appeared from left and right. The mage built a resistance wall, giving time for the mercenary’s to load the RPG. His spell shattered just as the missile was fired. The airplane saw it and dodged it. Four of the mercenary’s were shot in the moment of distraction. The second airplane moved away, whilst the first one was spitting rounds at the walls of ice the mage was continuing to cast. Seconds later a squad of dark clothed soldiers with goggles and shotguns was dispatched at the narrow terrace. The mage was taken down and the remaining five mercenary’s took three more lives before getting thrown off.

The first group of soldiers was followed by a second, and the two squads entered the cave.

The Mechanic was witnessing the almost complete process of core removal. The shards were nearly destroyed, and now that the Mosquito was piercing through the created gap, neatly puncturing the surface, the vessel carrying the virus was pealing off even more. Soon the tip of the Mosquito would be able to poke and extract.

There was a series of thumps echoing throughout the temple walls.

The Mechanic turned at the sudden noise.

Soldiers were aligning at the top of the stairs, their rifles and shotguns pointed at him. Between the heavy-armed lines an admiral walked. His face was pink from the biting cold and his hair was sandy blond.  His voice carried an accent when he spoke.

“I’ve dreamed about this discovery ever since I can remember. I’ve read so much about the crash, about the myth that a ship carried two artifacts, one of sin and one of purity, but they were a myth, always a myth, though I believed with my entire being. My scholar said they couldn’t be created, because no human being had ever created perfection. But this is the perfection of life and the perfection of death. It is the most dangerous weapon known. I wanted to own that kind of power. It would cleanse me too, no? Knowing I could do so much good. Help people. Kill people. The ultimate antidote! The ultimate plague! Imagine the wonders!”

The admiral walked down the crumbling steps of the temple. He stopped when he was next to The Mechanic, staring at the Mosquito working on both the crystals.

“I could have never gotten here without your help and your brilliance. Your devices are magnificent.”

The Mechanic cocked his head to one side, the black orbits on his gas mask reflecting the glow of the crystals.

The admiral gave him a smirk and a funny look came to his glassy blue eyes.

The Mechanic knew that look. It meant he had just a second or less. It was his goodbye moment, the frame he would to death, a neo communist’s smirking pink face.

In his pocket he kept the small tablet, the navigation program still working. He gently slid his finger upwards, maximizing the speed of the Mosquito. The machine freaked out instantly and charged at the crystal, breaking the needle, setting the arm on fire as it pulled out and swung sideways, smashing into the other arm still working on the antidote crystal.

“What are you doing you bloody fool!”

The crystal shattered, crimson red liquid dripping from the sharp edge, evaporating when meeting the still air in the temple. The virus dispersed everywhere, silent and invisible.

The Mosquito hit the ceiling of the temple, bringing down chunks of rock and the remains of the core. The whole place began to collapse like in a dream, simultaneously, slowed in time, slowed in realisation. The soldiers opened fire on The Mechanic, but their shots were dodgy and missed him. The Mechanic used the opportunity to kick down the admiral and make a run for it. The air was becoming horrid, Pandora’s box opened, skin decomposing, blood spitting, choking.

The Mechanic ran.

The temple collapsed without warning, shutting itself inside the belly of the Himalaya, blockading the discovery of the centuries.

One body sat on the snowy terrace, breathing fresh air through the mask. His inventions were destroyed, his life’s work and research gone. But on the tablet in his pocket, a formula was writing itself, and it was one element away from becoming dangerous.

Diamonds in their eyes

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , on 27/04/2013 by Cindy Vaskova

Diamonds in their eyes

“Is Danny going to be all right?”

She stopped on the sidewalk in front of the school. Her tired eyes studied the small boy before her; his features reminded her so much of Daniel. She wanted to reject him then and there for being so painfully similar, like a past version of Daniel, pink cheeks, lively eyes, and if it was not for the instinct she bared as a mother she would have walked away. She bit her lower lip hesitating what to answer her younger son. She was never good at lying.

“I don’t know.”

“Some kids at school say he’s a freak.”

In a flash she grabbed him by the shoulders and squeezed him, her face and inch away from his. She knew this action of hers frightened Charlie, and she knew that it wasn’t the pain of her fingers digging into his arms that caused him to release a wimpy cry, but the fear in her eyes, speaking the truth while her voice tried to lie.

“Your brother is not a freak.” She released him from her grip, pulling away, fighting the tears. “Don’t listen to those kids.”

It wasn’t enough, she knew, but she couldn’t stand being watched, being spoke of, hearing their whispers, their insults. Charlie followed her, walking beside with lowered head.

At home he ran into the living room and turned on the TV. She knew this wasn’t an option, but for now Charlie needed to be occupied, distracted away from… She poured a glass, than flunked it down the sink. She cried silently for a few then with shaking legs climbed the stairs.

Danny’s room just as she left it. Locked.

She entered the security code, the lock was released and she pushed the door slowly.

“Danny? It’s mom. I’m just checking on you.”

Her older boy was sitting by his desk, drawing as any other day. She feared to interrupt the scratching of the pencils and just watched his bent figure. He suddenly stopped and turned to look at her. She broke into tears again. Her boy, her beloved Danny blinked with his black eyes. His fluorescent blue skin shone under the light in the room. He stood up and jumped into her arms, his clawed fingers scratching at her back. She kissed his forehead, meeting the steely cold flesh. He purred and she smiled. She missed his voice, but the purr, she always though equaled him saying “I love you”. She gazed in his engulfing black eyes, unreadable pits that sometimes terrified her.  Amongst the infected, there were those who had murdered their families, those who had left their blue sigil on their faces, frozen in agony, as the alien crystals emerged from their mouths and clouded their eyes. She often dreamed of those crystals, diamonds in their eyes, that glistened. Those were nightmares in which Danny cries for her and she can’t reach him, only watch from afar as the crystal consumes his body, hiding his face under a tick layer of diamonds.  Her face darkened and she let go of him. “Mommy loves you Danny.” He stood there watching her close shut the door and lock it again.

She rushed into her bedroom and dug the vaccine container from her draw. She injected the serum and fought the side effect nausea that weakened her body and made her vomit. Another glance at the container told her there was one vaccine left. Applaying for more wasn’t an option. The government had released a restricted amount, and even if she was one of the scientists working on finding the cure for the 101 children infected, her monthly dose of the vaccine was also limited. She had to go back and steal more.

Even from here she could hear Danny drawing. She never saw what he drew. Maybe an answer, maybe a reason. But she dared not look.   She feared bodies with crystals growing on their faces.

The clock was ticking and she needed to find a cure. She needed to save Danny, before the Government decides the children are dangerous and not worth saving. Before they come knocking down her door with guns aiming.

Voyage

Posted in Short fiction stories with tags , , , , on 09/01/2013 by Cindy Vaskova

Voyage

A distant rumble called for storm. The wind drew dark clouds closer and before long the first raindrops eased the thirsty ground. The rain fell strong, but soft and Hank Cheswick pushed back his hat to feel it  running down his face. He loved when it rained. It washed away the dirt and the heat.

“Best we take the cattle in. I don’t want them all getting sick. We can’t afford more loses. C’mon.” Wesley Jix rode his horse past Hank towards the small herd, grazing nearby. Hank narrowed his hat and followed.

A loud thunder hit, echoing in the vast space of the open field. There was a shared “moo”. The animals began to bump each other, visibly startled by something. Their panic was escalating along with the range of their cries. A few began to toss their heads upwards and on a hunch Hank looked up too. His eyes widened.

As the rain started pouring, clouds gathered up in an unusual manner, swirling down in a spiral that thickened and began to float; a giant creature above the green field. Inside their black bellies, raging lightning flickered ferociously, thunders following in a series of deafening reiterations.

Hank dismounted his horse and held him tight by the halter, restraining his attempts to escape, and shouted over the weather.

“Wesley, look!” Wesley watched as the super cell storm took final formation.

“Well I’d be damned.”

A monstrous cloud stood motionless before them. It looked as if uprising from earth to heaven, blocking the horizon, the day, the world. The thunders and the lightning stopped; the cattle calmed, and the horses ceased their protest. They waited, their black eyes staring into the cloud. Hank was about to speak when a bright object pierced the formation, the wave caused by the passing dispersing the clouds at once. The object descended fast, landing in the forest, half a mile ahead.

A beam of light erupted from where it had fallen, scouting the sky and the surrounding in close distance, before dying out. Wesley and Hank looked at each other.

“Let’s go see.”

Wesley nodded, than whistled. Two shepherd dogs came by his feet, soaking wet, waiting for orders.

“I reckon Skip and Jo can take the herd close to the farm. They know their way. Get em home boys!” The dogs took on their master’s task.

Wesley and Hank mounted their horses and rode towards the site. Outside the forest they tied them and proceeded on foot further into the woods.

Half sank into the river laid a small spaceship visibly in poor shape, the left wing almost torn away. Hank and Wesley carefully slid down the muddy narrow of the river bank.  They stood knee-deep into the cold water hesitating to go near. Even from a distance they could feel the heat from the engines.

“What’d you reckon? Aliens?”

Wesley laughed. “I wish.”

There was movement from inside followed by loud thumps. The door finally slid open and a man climbed out from the cockpit, tumbling backwards and falling into the river. Wesley approached fast and grabbed him, dragging him to the river bank. The stranger sat, spitting water, his hair sticky on his forehead. Wesley took a step back studying the man. He wore an orange and grey jumpsuit without an indication on it except for a serial number. His hands were locked by a rectangular set of cuffs.

He spoke first, his voice barely shaking:

“What year am I in?”

Wesley looked the man straight in the eyes.

“1952.”

“No, no… I need to go back.” The man looked at Wesley first, then Hank, his voice beginning to tremble.  “Please help me.”

Wesley narrowed his head.

“Please!”

Hank stepped closer, and knelt before the man taking his entrapped hands. He observed the device, than felt the bottom surface and the edges. He found and pressed the hidden buttons on both sides. The cuffs fell apart, releasing the man’s hands.

“How did you..?” He rubbed his freed wrists.

Wesley and Hank left the man and went back to the spaceship. Wesley climbed into the cockpit. “The control system has launched the virus. There won’t be anything left in about a minute. The engines and the hyperdrive are not working either. But there’s something else here. Come look.”

Hank climbed, peeking inside.

Wesley entered a code and visual appeared on one of the screens, narrated by a female voice. It was a profile for the man outside.

Prisoner X7USSG Abel, Erran. Position: Deputy Chief Commander of Battlestar Purgatory; Current status: released of duty; Sentence: treason; Punishment: deportation into the past; Data: Unknown. Self-destruction of all information in: 54 seconds and counting down.”

Hank and Wesley exchanged looks. “Shit.”

“How many time jumps did it take you with this junk to get here?”

Erran Abel found himself in absolute confusion. “Six, with an hour recharging between jumps…Listen, I need to get back to my own time. I don’t belong here. There’s been a mistake”

“There’s no mistake Mr. Abel. That message, which I’m sure you’ve heard, tells me this is a one way ticket. There is no going back.” Hank shook his head.

“Wait, who the fuck are you two? What is going on here?”

Wesley extended his hand.

“Wesley Jix, commander of Second Fleet of the Government’s Army, Battlestation Leviathan, location the red plains of Yendell, serial number F63191, current status: exiled, sent to damnation on Earth. Sentence: rebellion against the government.”

Hank saluted.

“Hank Cheswick, Chief of security to the President of the Colonies, current status: exiled, sent to damnation back to planet Earth, no fixed time or date; sentence: assistance to rebellion squads.”

Erran Abel stared at them in disbelief.

“You are from the future… I know you two, I know your names! But you were killed, in the riot you both died. The President himself confirmed that.”

“I bet he did. This time jumping program was never approved. It operates in stealth. But we’re from the same star deputy.”

“How long have you been here?”

“About 10 years now, ain’t that right Hank?”

“Aye.”

Erran stood up.

“They left you for dead. They abandoned you, even the people who supported you. I can’t be condemned to die here, I need to fix this bird and get back home. I have a wife! I have a home! This is..this is..”

Wesley grabbed him by the arms.

“You had them. Now they’re gone. There in the future you have been erased. Maybe they spared your wife and altered her memory.”

“This is bullshit! I’d rather be dead!”

“You knew the risks when you took on that task. We tried and now we’re paying for our anarchy, but the effect of our stand will remain for the next ones that will try to bring down the silent regime. Your sacrifice is they’re key, they’re hope. We’ll be the heroes that fell.”

“How did you survive? How did you stay… sane?”

Wesley whispered to him.

“Let you in on a secret. This here might seem like hell, like prison, cast away from your loved ones, from your life and from your world, forever. But that feeling goes away after a while. You get back on your feet after nostalgia for home lets you go. You adjust. At first you dream about it, the silver lines of the finest ships, the expression on your face in the mirror when you put that uniform for the first time, her smile as you wait for the green shine of passing Halox to appear, just before dawn. And then you wake up. You bury yourself in dust and work and you start building and planning. You create a new life. The past becomes your present and that lost future…it rarely comes by your mind. You die here, but you die happy, because you truly live. You feel the rain and you have the sun, still normal. There are no aircrafts flying around, no gunfire. You live in peace. You have a life. They think they condemn you to suffering here, passing you into the hands of madness and self- poisoning with memories, but you prove them wrong. You live.”

Erran looked at the sky, the clouds clearing off for a night full of stars. He closed his eyes imagining the stars and the vast blackness, letting that image fill him, make him stronger. He imagined his house, the front door opening, Yana’s lips gently kissing him. With his thoughts he reached there, sending a prayer for wife to be safe. He told her good night, billions of light years away and asked for her forgiveness. He hoped her face doesn’t fade away.”

“Maybe in another life.”

Hank and Wesley waited for him.

“Come on. Tomorrow a new life for you begins, Erran Abel.”

 

A note:

I always imagine the vastness of space when listening to this folklore song. There is a dramatic tone to it. It fits doesn’t it? 

Best reads of 2012

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 17/12/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

A big thank you to John Wiswell for setting up a list to compile the #bestreads2012

I’ve been on and off books for the whole year; many I’m still reading, others I have left for the moment.

But a few I finished and loved. There are 5 books as you will see; amongst them is a graphic novel which is still on going but thus far it’s been brilliant; there is fiction of course and a sort of non-fiction….

 

Fiction

___________________

American Gods

I knew about  American Gods through other Neil Gaiman books, but only this year did I get the chance to purchase it.  Neil Gaiman has been my favorite author for some time now, but at first, back in 2009, I only knew him from reading Fragile Things. I had already fallen in love with his storytelling, and American Gods with the stamp “Bestseller” on dark  cover seemed to be the perfect next book to read. Grabbed it from the shelf in the bookstore and was so pleased for doing that  It is the perfect book.

American Gods is a magnificent book, and I am not exaggerating by saying that. It’s a brilliant mixture of modern days and old days, of old gods and new gods and their fight to fit into this world. I found myself having this amazing road-trip across states, along with the strong main character Shadow in search for some revelation of life and explanation of death. It is though a scary travel, exploring the bases of the American spirit and how the very few remaining gods live on the fragile belief of emigrants and the descendants of the old settlers. And it is quite a hallucinogenic exploration.

The plot and the narrative style are top-notch. I couldn’t say less for Gaiman anyway. Having read his masterpiece “Sandman” I can only say American Gods follows very closely, if not exceeds the comic book.

It’s a novel I will re-read and enjoy again. It’s dark and fast paced, it’s rich of characters that are complex and insane in their own charming ways.

I say, if you haven’t read it, make sure you do so!

 

Deathbird stories

I was introduced to this collection of 19 short stories through Neil Gaiman. The storytelling is definitely dark and very powerful, with a culmination that make the heart tremble with both excitement and fear. It was my first time reading him, and I did love the stories, I found them very inspirational and was pleased to have spotted his name now rather than later. There is a small difficulty in understanding Ellison just from this book; I advice, if you haven’t read other works by him do so. But on the other hand you may be fine with this as your first introduction to the author.

This particular collection deals with a certain theme, which regards gods. Ellison searches for them in places where belief is shaken or missing, where people are desperate and forsaken. He questions the need of gods again, once they have been forgotten and not needed, and draws them in shapes and forms, corresponding with the characters in both terrifying and comforting ways. This collection is where Gaiman had his influence on writing American Gods- Ellison as well explores the possibility of gods existing in this modern world through machines.

The book is a mixture of horror, fantasy and to an extent science fiction. It has great stories in it, dark and sinister, powerful and compelling writing with Gods on the front. What more can one want?

 

The Phantom of the Opera 

First and foremost I am a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s  musical. But it didn’t seem fair to neglect the book from which the obsession originates. So glad I read it.

I think that because of the massive popularity and the movie, the book has suffered a little. It’s a brilliant read, out doing the expectation one like me has, having seen an on-screen production of the story. But it does exceed the expectations and it becomes more than just a love story situated in France.

It’s a gothic story, quite dark at places, describing the process of falling in love, becoming obsessed, and then descending into madness with a threatening fatal outcome. The atmosphere in the novel is heavy with mystery, with a melodic chill and enchanting danger that pulls the reader right into the opera affairs that revolve around the Opera ghost, a mysterious shadow with a “death’s head” lurking in his box, speaking from inside the walls and giving private singing lessons to young, but promising diva Christine Daae.

His love for her is impossible; not only because of his deformity and long-lasting solitude from the world underneath the opera house, but because of Christine’s love for another man. The story told brilliantly and very smart by Gaston Laroux escalates in high notes of thundering rage and demonic cries evoked by the broken heart of the Phantom- a soul to pity, but to fear as well. From a witty and terrifying ghost, to a real man trapped by the curse of his deformity, but gifted with the voice of an angel and the brilliance of a genius of architecting and composing, the Phantom is a powerful character, which at the end of the novel finds a spot in my heart and a bigger influence than his persona delivered through stage and screen.

The Phantom of the Opera is a magnificent book, feeling less like fiction and more like a real event written through gathered information of details and memoirs of people who had been misfortune to meet the ghost of the opera.

It is a read to remember. Especially when read at night.

 

The graphic novel

_______________________

American Vampire

              

Although it is still on going, American Vampire has been one of the most entertaining and exciting readings I’ve done this year/summer. It’s a graphic novel written by Scott Snyder. I’m setting up a few covers from different volumes.

The first volume opens in 1925 L.A. with a young wannabe big time actress Pearl Jones, who soon enough discovers the secrets of success, which leaves her dying in the desert. Being bitten by a vampire she struggles to survive, and with a transformation possibly coming, charismatic and cheeky main male character and strong vampire Skinner Sweet appears, dropping some blood to save Pearl and invite her to join his party of extraordinary new vampire species- faster, better, stronger and full speed in the sunlight. From there the story develops with more details about Skinner and his dark past, which part is written by Stephen King; it gets on about Pearl and her struggle to live like a human, but still be a badass vampire lady protecting her own.

The graphic novel has great artwork, very macabre and I particularly like the vision of the vampires – not the typical you’ll find in other modern day vampire tales. Proper vampires I must say!

The storytelling is done with finesse and is accompanied by blood spilling, throat ripping, vampire combat scenes!

Overall it’s an awesome first volume, followed by a great horror story extending into the other volumes. It’s a beautiful blend of mystery, western, fantasy which grows more and more with great characters and a strong narrative.

 

Science fiction

_______________________

The Sound of His Horn

The Sound of his Horn is a novel set in a dystopian future controlled by Nazis.

It sounds a bit overdone, and brings thoughts of futuristic sci-fi scenes of Nazi ruled cities, but… it’s not anything like that. Although there is a sense of time travel, the story does not venture into the science fiction world; there is not much mentions of anything sci-fi actually, other than the field of rays which send the main character, a British naval lieutenant Alan Querdillon into an alternate universe in which the Nazis have won WW2. The story does not focus on how the world is ran, or what has really happened to lead to this future. It centers on how Alan understands the place he has gone to. And it’s not that much of a story about Nazis. It’s a fable in a sense, in which humans are hunted and genes are manipulated.

Some find the storytelling a bit slow-paced and not that big of a deal, but I liked the book, having never really read anything as such, and was thrilled until the end, so it is really up to the individual to find his pace and his place in the story.

Shadowplay

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 29/09/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Still tip-toeing through the material; next week there shall be more weapon action.

A time travel two years prior to the events in this piece in The assassination of Steven Merritt

Shadowplay

28th of September, 2024

Outbreak day

“Senator Merritt! Senator Merritt! How would you comment on the development of the events from earlier today?”

“Senator Merritt, what would you say to the people of America? How would you assure them the streets are safe?”

“Senator Merritt, wouldn’t you agree that the statement you made two weeks prior to the breaking and entering in the new Prime Industries facility, which was that your impenetrable defense system will be taking over the national security of the country, has been completely destroyed and proven weak after what happened today? The safety has been compromised; what are your actions from now on?”

Steven Merritt stopped on the last marble step of the U.S. Capitol building. Chief of Security Paul Mulligan stood on his right.

“Currently the police force and its officers are managing to contain the wave of people protesting in the city center, and no military involvement is considered necessary. I can assure our citizens it will all be over before the day ends. My only plea towards the people watching is to remain calm.”

The senator smiled.

“What about the weapons stolen from your company? Has a list been made; do you senator know what is missing and what may outburst over the public?”

Steve Merritt opened his mouth but Chief Mulligan waved his large hand to attract the attention of the journalists.

“It has been made. The weapons have been located and are being collected and stored into safety as we speak. Now please, no more questions”

The senator and Paul Mulligan made their way to the black Mercedes limo, followed by a dozen journalists and cameras.

A reporter turned over to JS TV’s camera “While senator Merritt was unable to answer how his flawless system was breached earlier today our spokesmen downtown tells us the situation at the heart of the city continues to be hot and may derail once more. The President is about to give a spe..”

The voice of the anchorman was interrupted as the sensor monitor turned black.

“That’s enough.”

The two men sat in the backseat of a car parked in an alley downtown. The parade of posters and shouting through megaphones people marched before them. The riot was growing.

“Where do you think the “culprit” is now?”

The older man chuckled. It was a sour chuckle.

“He’s sipping his whiskey in Merritt’s office”

The younger man nodded.

“As you suspected”

The older mam’s eyes sparkled behind the glasses.

“This is theater. Each act welcomes more actors to the stage and the plot becomes more complicated. At one point the audience is unsure whether to trust the main characters. But still, they stay until the curtain falls. We’re merely at the beginning of this performance Jaquel. And we want a peak backstage. Merritt, he is only a string being pulled at the right moment. And that moment is now.”

“We know the outcome of his actions.  They need to be prevented.”

An envelope with pictures of a building in a desert region secured by huge machineguns with Prime Industries logo on them was handed to Jaquel. A yellow package containing two devices was also given to him.

“We believe the so-called stolen guns are strapped from their specialties and filled with blanks, whilst those of the armed troops are not. If you fail there will be anarchy tomorrow. There will be death. You are aware you’ ll be in danger at all times. There are powerful men watching today. The faceless ones. They will want to see more of Prime Ind. weapons in action. Let us disappoint them for now. First Merritt. Then the rest. “

The younger man, a tall brunette with a scar on his left cheek nodded again and stepped out of the vehicle.

Across the street a boy nearly eighteen was smoking a joint and observing the scandal. The view bored the teen and he backed to find another path around the scene when he spotted something metallic sticking from behind a trash can. He looked around. Then he picked up a handgun. On its handle there was a fingerprint recognition center. The boy thought “cool” and placed a thumb. The biometric system, intentionally set to enable firepower to anyone’s DNA, analyzed the current owner in 1.2 seconds and the LED light on the back of the pistol flashed green. The internal timer set the pistol to be active for 120 seconds. The system registered the lack of original ammunition. The power dropped by 78%.

The weapon felt heavy in his hands. He pointed it at the trash can and fired.

In the meantime an armored van pulled over at the barricade set in the middle of the street and more police officers jumped out of it. They wore helmets and held shields pushing back the crowd.  One officer stopped and stepped away. His helmet was registering the activity of one weapon from the list with stolen items from Prime Industries. The helmet scanned the street. The heat sensor picked movement in the back alley, left on the street. The search through Prime Ind.’s base gave a positive ID on the weapon – Ultim Digital; Prototype weapon ID code: X3422; Characteristics: 22. caliber, semi-automatic, 15 double penetrable bullet shells at 20x distance, optional attachable laser corpus IRIS with zoom-in.

The cop made his way to where the boy was still admiring the gun.

“Drop the weapon and we won’t have a problem okay kid?”

The boy looked at the heavily armed officer; his helmet was shining black, the visor not revealing the face, but reflecting the city lights. He gripped the handle of the gun tighter and pointed it at the officer.

“I found it. It’s mine.”

The officer lifted his shotgun; the laser aligned vertical on the handle was red; and pointed at the boy.

“Drop it kid.”

Terrified and shaking the boy squeezed the trigger.

The red light immediately switched to green as the shotgun spat a single bullet.

The blank bullet ricocheted from the armor of the cop; the pointy bullet whirled, for a split second the noises around going numb. The boy was thrown back by the impact of the bullet hitting his chest; he dropped before his fake bullet had bumped into the Nano suit of the cop.

The visor lifted, two blue eyes staring in amazement.

The atmosphere heated.

Riot.

 Not the end…soon to be more! 

The assassination of Steven Merritt

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , on 15/09/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Here’s a very, very late Friday flash. Am not entirely happy with how the piece turned out, but my mind has been occupied with larger projects and university issues. But, I do hope you find it somewhat interesting. Enjoy!

The assassination of Steven Merritt

Washington D.C., Friday 23rd of March 2022

Residential House of Senate 19:45 PM

“Would you like a glass sir?”

“A glass madam?”

The finest champagne filled the finest crystal glasses with sparkly bubbles and light taste.

The waiters hovered between the well-known and sophisticated guests offering them the elixir of the higher classes.

A wide variety of sea hors d’oeuvre were served on shiny plates, while the smooth, silky sound of the saxophone accompanied by the gentle caress of the piano entertained the present and the newly arriving at the House of Senate located on 2300 Pennsylvania Avenue SE to celebrate the new elected senator Steven Merritt, former CEO of Prime Industries, the largest technological manufacturer in the United States and Asia.

The press was stationed near the entrance awaiting the new senator to arrive. Dozen photographers lurked around. Some of the newspapers were to pay them a great deal of cash to catch the senator in an embarrassing moment during the speech he was to deliver.

When Steven Merritt walked in guarded by two of his black suited men and his secretary Claus Germain all applauded. He shook hands with other senators, diplomats, ambassadors, politicians, philanthropists, cultural guru’s, experts in public relations and many more. He smiled politely to all of them, accepting their congratulations, acknowledging their praise. His suit, maybe Armani, maybe Tom Ford, embed with sweat sensors, an inside jacket pocket removable display hooked up with a hologram option and connected to Prime Ind. satellite, delivering news, sports and other goods, was the latest innovation in men’s clothing and was surely to be a word in both fashion and tech magazines.

With an energetic hop Steve Merritt stepped onto the podium and stood behind the microphone stand.

“Thank you all for coming here tonight. I am beyond grateful; although I’m sure your presence has nothing to do with me, but with that delicious sea cuisine. And the free champagne.” Senator Merritt laughed.

The guests laughed as well.

“As you all know after my departure from Prime Industries as a CEO, my place there was taken by the lovely Debra Higgins, who is here tonight”

A woman in sparkling silver dress raised her glass. The guests applauded her.

“But by heart I am first and foremost a scientist, a developer” The reporters shifted. Something big was about to be announced. “In fact, continued Merritt, as the new senator I am pleased to announce my first big step towards making America an even greater country. Prime Industries, with the blessing and approval of the President, the senate, and the board of directors is taking a step up in its craft, and will be opening a new factory, only for producing high-tech weaponry for the U.S. army and the forces of the police departments in each state!”

The journalists went for a verbal attack, shouting over one another. The quests applauded, with a tear in their eyes, for their new guiding star Steve Merritt was surely to lead them into a far safer and modern world, absolutely dominating over the rest of the planet. Prime Industries was a giant, suffering from gluttony, gulping every local and foreign small developer on its way to immortality.

A large screen dropped from the ceiling, pictures of prototypes of weapons, suits, automobiles playing on a slideshow. A U.S. sergeant came on stage wearing a prototype Nano tech armor, and handling a large sound “Viber JX” gun. He demonstrated the abilities of the suit.

Steve Merritt was proudly watching the show and the soon to be real creations, and Debra Higgins joined him on the podium, the two firmly shaking hands for their upcoming project. That’s when a bullet flew through Merritt’s forehead and splattered blood and brains over the screen and Debra’s pretty face and dress. He tumbled backwards, and fell from the podium. Everyone screamed and confused stumbled in an attempt to reach the doors.

Security was already pulling the body away, securing the perimeter, blocking exits.

Chief of security Paul Mulligan escorted the convoy of four men carrying the lifeless, blood dripping senator.

They entered the senator’s cabinet and laid the body on the couch.

The men were silent

‘I probably should make a call, inform the senator was just…shot” Claus Germain whimpered, pale and shaking, staring at the body of his boss.

“The press has already done that” growled Paul Mulligan. He turned to the bodyguards, his gun in hand. “I want to know how the hell that happened, where that bullet came from. Find me the shooter. I don’t care how you do it, just find me that son of a bitch! He has to be among the crowd. Search through and through, and ignore all questions asked. From now on the building is sealed. We don’t have much time before the President shows up. Get more men. Go”

The four guards, two of which the personal security of the late senator exited the room. The last one, a tall brunette with a scar upon his left cheek turned to have another glimpse at the body. As he closed the door behind him, he slid the Time Stop gun into his inner pocket and pulled out his 9mm instead.

The future was prevented. Steven Merritt was no longer a threat.

Mission accomplished.

AC vs DC

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , on 18/05/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Friday flash with a risk alert beaming its red light!

Kidding… or not.

Watch them dance in a science macabre.

AC vs DC

The day slowed down for a second. White- blue lightning stroke the sky and before the eye could catch the shape of its dancing body, it fell down and crashed on the ground in a fountain of many little electrical sparkles.

A yellow one followed it and landed smoothly in the fields of South Dakota.

-   This is ridiculous! – A man in a grey suite, combed black hair and a pair of mustaches on a pale face stood up and cleaned from the dust. He was younger than his rival.

The other one an elderly gentleman remained silent; his eyes flickering with hatred and fury, a yellow lightning surrounding his body, making his fists burn.

-   Does it have to be like this? Can we not just simply shake hands and sit down for a glass of scotch?

The older one shook his head no.

-     We have both seen the future. It is unfair, mad and highly offensive! After all the years of work I have done this is how the world repays me- by praising you like some God! I beg the differ… Tesla!

-     But I never wanted it Edison – pleaded Tesla, his voice trying to keep calm when he was obviously irritated – I never would have thought of myself like that, nor want anyone else to think of me that way. You know that.

-     Oh but please! Lies, all nothing but lies. I saw your face! You liked it didn’t you? Movies about Tesla, books about Tesla, games about Tesla. The Master of lightning is everyone’s favorite. Tesla, Tesla, bloody Tesla everywhere! What about Edison? I was first! You are nothing compared to me! You wouldn’t be who you are without me boy – Edison was now shouting, shaking with more anger, his lightning sizzling, and throwing sparks that threatened to start a fire in the autumn field.

Tesla watched with amusement the growing power of the other man. There was no other way was it there? Tesla had lost all hopes for making peace.

-   You are a fool sir. I am sorry for what is about to happen. But I am not be offended by you. Fight we shall! For superiority.

Tesla didn’t expect Edison to charge at him this fast. In a flash the older man’s fist was in his face, twisting his head to one side, the power wave throwing him on his back. His body dug in the ground, his head bounced up then down knocking him unconscious. The electricity flickered a few times exhausted before disappearing into thin air. Edison stood above his apprentice, a blazing monster, a blur of yellow, white and grey, breathing heavy, shaking with excitement. He was finally going to prevail and alter the future. His future.

Edison lifted his leg determined to release it on Tesla’s skull.

-  It’s over you… – before he could finish the ground beneath him trembled.

With a burst of new energy Tesla emerged from his almost to be grave and clenched to Edison’s vest pushing them both up in the air. His artificial lightning became apparent again blinding Edison. It pierced through the older man’s body and made him scream. Edison shrugged and freed himself. He placed a hand on his chest trying to ease his heart.

Both men floated in the azure sky, the sun bathing the skin on their faces. They eyed each other.

-   Play time is over – Edison’s voice had dropped to a low grow.

-    One last time I ask of you to put a stop to this. We can use the machine I created to find all those answers we seek Edison. Look at us! Flying, time traveling…which man alive or dead achieved what we did? Awake you fool! We are standing on the doorstep of a science revolution and all you care is of some childish nonsense…

-   Enough! – Edison roared. – Enough… I, I deserve the answers! They are mine by right! Die!

Edison charged again, fist stretched ahead, mouth opened yelling, dripping saliva. Madman. Like a train – wreck in slow motion, but with people, Tesla flew against him, his fist covered in his so loved blue lightning. Inches before the collision, Tesla clicked his fingers and purplish lightning covered him from head to toe; little electrical snake tongues wrapping around his wrists and feet. Edison’s jaw dropped. Tesla had managed to fuse his electricity with something else. Unknown.

But it was beautiful. “The future” Edison thought…

Their fists touched. White light swallowed the day, the world, the universe…

Invaders

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 21/04/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

A Flash Fiction that was supposed to be a Friday one but because of “the Lord Almighty” ‘s  decision it ended up to be a Saturday Flash.

Anyways, enjoy ! 

Invaders

R. J. was coming back from the store carrying two bags filled with enough food for the weekend. He wasn’t planning on going out, just wanted to stay home and work on his motorcycle. He always had the idea to build something on his own and honestly he thought he was quite good at it. R.J. had started building it part by part last summer and was close to finishing it but since then other daily boring tasks and duties like work, or chores or his mother and sister visiting and nagging him for not being married yet had got in the way.

R.J. smiled to the thought of being alone and practicing his hobby undisturbed. Then he smiled to the dark clouds that were coming and to the wind bringing the smell of rain.

He wasn’t bothered by such weather. In fact he loved it.

The man opened the small wooden fence and walked the white alley leading to his suburban home, but stopped before unlocking the door. He looked behind his shoulder, feeling the urge to grab an apple from the tree that grew in his yard. R.J left the bags on the ground and crossed the smoothly trimmed grass.

A distant thunder called the storm, grey clouds without a shape or form nested high above R.J. Some forsaken and lost sun beams were fighting their way through the gathering darkness, their golden color reflecting in the windows of the house creating a frighteningly beautiful contrast with the dark-blue sky.

R.J. wrapped his hand around one big red apple. The sun’s trajectory had leveled up with the position of the apple, hiding behind it, and when R.J. picked the fruit the strong light blinded him. He dropped the apple and shadowed his eyes with hand. He blinked hoping to chase away the white circles that had started to dance before him.

R.J. took a step back wanting to look the other way when a low-frequency sound begun to insistently ring in his ears. R.J. closed his eyes and tried to block the noise with both hands, thinking his head might explode if it continued. The pain banged like drums in his brain, making him disoriented. He just wanted it to stop, please oh please stop, or I might cry, or just lay here and die. The solution came to him from somewhere deeper, an unknown place in his mind. It asked of him to open his eyes, and look where the sun was shining through. R.J. resisted on that idea, but his subconscious voice spoke again, telling him the noise will stop once he looks into the sun.

“Do it”. This time he didn’t resist.

R.J. looked straight into the burning body, the white and pure glow. The ringing stopped. Then a whisper, the memory of his voice from just a moment ago became only a humming sound, some sort of language R.J. thought that was unreal, so ancient but so very beautiful. The sun was talking to R.J. He felt his body drifting away from him under those words in alien notes, under this bright and welcoming face of the sun. His limbs were no longer his own and R.J. didn’t know if he was still standing, flying or lying. Didn’t matter. It was an amazing feeling.

 But something else was moving in, an invader. He had let it in. His insides burned and for a moment R.J. imagined this is what it feels like when the sun is living in you. Then he felt fear and snapped out of the hypnotizing song. He screamed but his mouth did not open. He tried to move but his feet stood still. He tried to see but the view before him flew away leaving only blackness. Then R.J stopped existing.

Silence fell. The sky waited not daring to release the rain. Maybe the Earth too, stood still for one breathtaking tick of the clock.  

What made everything spin and turn and scream and cry and just live again or die, were his lips slowly curving into a small smirk, yet leaving the face without any cheerful expression. He closed his fingers into a fist, than released them. He cracked his neck releasing the pressure. He looked down staring into his white sneakers and lifted one foot then the other. And he walked out of the yard leaving one apple to roll on the ground and two bags of food to be blown away by what wind may come.

A few meters from the house R.J.’s body stopped. His eyes weren’t blinking. Then R.J’s head nodded.

It has begun Brothers. It will be over soon Brothers.”

He continued walking towards the city.

A thunder clapped shaking the world. Soon it started raining.

Revolution

Posted in Flash stories, Short fiction stories with tags , , , , , , on 16/04/2012 by Cindy Vaskova

Monday Sci-Fi flash ! Can guess what inspired it ? ;) Enjoy 

Revolution

The man merged with the darkness of the backstreet alley. He rested his back on the wall and took out a ragged paper from his inner pocket, a poorly done map of the functioning areas in the under city tunnels. He reached his other pocket to make sure the small bottle with blue liquid is safe.

Loud shouts made him kneel down and stay alert.

There was a riot happening out on the streets. Protestors had been bombing the city with shouts and aggression towards the government for the past few days. But they couldn’t be blamed. An end had to be put to human enchantment. People needed to snap out of their delusion and see what Nanotechnology does to them, how it steals away the last bits of their humanity. How easy they become someone’s puppets. There were biomechanical tests first, now this. At this point fear had escalated ten times more than before; those rebelling knew soon there will be no genuine human, not a soul left completely pure here in the capital.

The man hid the map and stood up. He had to get to the shaft near the Bridge without being spotted by the police forces. Caleb, his brother needed the medication he was carrying and fast. The tunnels were not a pleasant place for an ill person to stay.

He moved closer to the noise, slowly walking out of his hideout. He was actually grateful to the people with posters fighting the armed men, making a fuss, shaking the foundations of this great city but it was he and his people who were the true rebellion. Unseen, unknown, ghosts, bringing the vultures down to their knees step by step.

He walked into the daylight, putting on a pair of dirty sunglasses. Tucked in his long black coat he made his way through the angry mob, and disappeared into the smoke from the gas grenades. As always the best way to stay unnoticed is to blend in with the crowd. Or with the background.

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